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EI Fact Sheet #2

EI Fact Sheet #2


Employment Insurance Regular Benefits

Am I eligible for Employment Insurance Regular Benefits?

You are encouraged to apply for benefits and allow the EI processing agents determine your eligibility. But in general you may be entitled to receive Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits if you:

  • have paid premiums into EI;
  • lost your employment through no fault of your own;
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
  • have worked for the required number of insurable hours (420-1400 hours depending on the unemployment rate in your area and if you have a prior “EI violation”) in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter
  • are ready, willing, and capable of working each day; and
  • are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).

You may not be entitled to receive EI regular benefits if you:

  • voluntarily left your employment without just cause;
  • were dismissed for misconduct; or:
  • are unemployed because you are directly participating in a labour dispute (strike, lockout, or other type of dispute).

You need to meet the qualification period which is the shorter of:

  • the 52 week period immediately before the start date of the your claim; or
  • the period from the start of a previous benefit period to the start of your new benefit period, if you applied for the benefits earlier and your application was approved in the last 52 weeks.

There are additional conditions which may affect the qualification period such as an extension to 104 weeks if you were not working in work deemed as EI insurable earnings or you did not receive EI. You also need to check with Service Canada what you need for qualification hours if you are already working (part time) or received previously maternity or parental benefits. 

Do I need to apply to receive Employment Insurance Regular Benefits?

Yes, you need to apply for EI benefits and Service Canada will need to determine whether you are entitled to benefits.

When should I apply?

You should apply as soon as possible once you have stopped working, even if your employer has not issued your Record of Employment (ROE) yet. You should know that if you delay applying for benefits beyond four weeks after your last day of work, you risk losing benefits.

How do I apply for Employment Insurance Regular Benefits?

To apply for EI you must complete your application online at www.canada.ca. If you are not able to apply online call Employment Insurance at 1-800-206-7218.

What information do I need to apply for Employment Insurance Regular Benefits?

  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  • Your mother’s maiden name;
  • Your mailing and residential addresses, including your postal code.
  • Your banking information to sign up for direct deposit;
  • Names, addresses, dates of employment and reason for separation for all your employers over the last 52 weeks;
  • Your detailed version of the facts;
  • The dates, Sunday to Saturday and earnings for each of your highest paid weeks of insurable earnings in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last claim whichever is the shorter period.

When will I start to receive Employment Insurance Regular Benefits?

If all the received information is submitted and you are entitled to receive EI benefits, your first payment should be issued within 28 days of the date your application for benefits is received. If you started a new EI claim within the last 52 weeks and you still have weeks payable on the claim, Service Canada will automatically reactivate your existing claim. You should contact Service Canada to discuss whether a new claim would be more advantageous to you.

How much will I receive?

The basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings. As of January 1, 2017, the maximum yearly insurable amount is $51,700. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $543 per week.

What is the waiting period?

Before you start receiving EI benefits, there is a waiting period for which you will not be paid. The waiting period is like the deductible that you must pay for other types of insurance. The waiting period prior to 2017 was two weeks. Effective January 1, 2017 the waiting period is only one week.

For how long will I receive Employment Insurance Regular Benefits?

You may receive EI regular benefits for a period ranging from 14 to 45 weeks. The number of weeks of benefits depends on the unemployment rate in your region and on the number of hours of insurable employment that you accumulated during your qualifying period, which is usually the last 52 weeks before the start date of your claim.

What are my ongoing responsibilities once I begin to receive Employment Insurance Regular Benefits?

After you apply for EI benefits, you must complete and submit EI reports during the period your EI claim is active. These reports are submitted to Service Canada every two weeks. If you do not submit your report, you will not be entitled to benefits.

There are a number of responsibilities you will have while receiving EI. One of these is searching for suitable employment. Suitable employment has a specific definition and depends on your specific circumstances, as such it is recommended that you review this information in detail to ensure you are meeting your responsibilities. The information is available at www.canada.ca.

More Information:

For additional information regarding Employment Insurance Regular Benefits contact Service Canada at 1-800-531-7555 or online at www.canada.ca.

If you wish to contact the Pensions and Benefits unit, please email us at pensionsandbenefits@opseu.org.